Sony builds space lasers


Global tech giant Sony has set up a new subsidiary to create space lasers as part of a new project to perform “space optical communications”. The company is called Sony Space Communications Corporation (SSC) and will create new devices to connect to satellites via a “laser beam”.

In a press release, Sony said there are already around 12,000 satellites in space and that number is expected to increase in the future. Currently, satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) that communicate with ground facilities must pass directly over a ground station to communicate, Sony said. In addition, there are issues related to the power consumption of the required equipment and the need for “frequency licenses for radio waves”.

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To solve these problems, SSC will create “small optical communication devices to provide related services to connect microsatellites in LEO via a laser beam”.

Sony will offer this equipment as a service to companies working with satellites, for a fee, while also creating a network that allows satellites in space to more easily communicate with stations on the ground.

“By using optical communications, SSC aims to achieve high-speed communications with small devices, which is physically difficult to achieve with conventional radio communications because conventional communications require a large antenna and high output power,” said said Sony. “Furthermore, by building an optical communications network not only between satellites and the ground, but also between satellites in orbit, SSC aims to enable real-time communications from anywhere on the ground to any satellite in space. Optical communications are also easier to implement than traditional radio frequency communications because they do not require certain types of licenses that radio communications require.”

The overall goal is to create an “easy-to-use inter-satellite communications system,” Sony said, and a ripple effect could be that Internet communication will be able to cover earth and space more widely.

By providing easy-to-use inter-satellite communications capabilities, SSC aims to increase the amount of communications in space and realize an Internet communications network covering earth, space, and applications such as real-time services. .

In 2021, Sony installed the small optical link for the International Space Station in the “Kibo” module of the International Space Station to test this.

“It established a two-way laser communication link with a space optical communication ground station of the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT) and successfully transmitted high-definition image data via Ethernet protocols. In 2021, this experimental device successfully established an optical downlink from space to a commercial optical ground station of Kongsberg Satellite Services in Greece,” Sony said.

Sony also carried out another test of this type of satellite communication earlier this year. “In collaboration with JAXA, an experiment on full data file transfer in a simulated error-prone communication environment, which will form the technological basis for Internet services via stratospheric and low-Earth orbit optical communications, was conducted with success,” Sony said.

In other Sony news, the company held its latest PlayStation State of Play briefing, and there was a lot of important and exciting news. Check out GameSpot’s State of Play news recap for more.


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